Getting Alcides Escobar and Omar Infante on the Same Page
By David Hill
As of this morning, the Kansas City Royals starting middle infield has a total of 33 at bats in Spring Training action. 33. Before Friday, Alcides Escobar had not appeared in a game since March 9th due to shoulder discomfort, and has all of nine at bats this spring. Omar Infante also battled his own shoulder discomfort earlier in the spring, limiting his action in Spring Training. Now that Escobar is back, Infante is dealing with a bone spur in his elbow.
Feb 25, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante (14) throws during a workout at Surprise Stadium practice area. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
With the limited playing time that both players have had thus far, it should not be a surprise that Escobar and Infante have yet to actually play together in the field during a game. Normally, that would not be that much of a problem; however, Infante and Escobar do need to have that game action to get a feel for one another when it comes to turning double plays and on defense.
Right now, the Royals are not concerned about that lack of game time together. Ned Yost feels that the time they have spent practicing together may help to make up for that lack of game action.
"“I don’t see it as a detriment,” Yost said. “They’ve been taking ground balls every day together. They’re both very athletic, up-the-middle defenders. They both have natural timing and a natural bond, being from Venezuela.”"
While Yost did go on to state that game action is important, he does feel that Alcides Escobar and Omar Infante should be able to build that dynamic through practice. Yost may actually have a point, as Escobar has played with eleven different second basemen since coming over to the Royals. Being able to develop chemistry with Infante, who should be the first true answer the Royals have had at second since Escobar arrived, should be relatively easy by comparison.
Given the lack of playing time that both Escobar and Infante have had thus far, most of the focus is likely to be on their bats. There will be concerns as to whether or not they have had enough playing time to get into a groove offensively, especially since Escobar does not exactly inspire confidence in the lineup. Yet, with the Royals being built around defense, getting the timing down between Escobar and Infante may be even more important.
Fortunately for the Royals, this is not an unfamiliar situation for Alcides Escobar. He has had to get used to quite a few second basemen over the past few years. Learning Omar Infante’s tendencies should not be a problem.